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Qantas says profits down but reputation rebounding

Australia's Qantas profits dipped in the second half of 2023 but executives see reason for optimism
Australia's Qantas profits dipped in the second half of 2023 but executives see reason for optimism - Copyright AFP DAVID GRAY
Australia's Qantas profits dipped in the second half of 2023 but executives see reason for optimism - Copyright AFP DAVID GRAY

Qantas reported a slide in half-year net profits Thursday but said its reputation had “bounced back” under a new leader after taking a battering since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the drop in profits, the 103-year-old airline said customer satisfaction had improved as it reported its first results under new chief executive Vanessa Hudson.

Her predecessor, Qantas veteran Alan Joyce, took early retirement in September as the once-beloved carrier suffered sustained criticism over its service, soaring ticket prices and its treatment of staff.

“We know that millions of Australians rely on us and we’ve heard their feedback loud and clear,” Hudson said.

“There’s a lot of work happening to lift our service levels, and the early signs are really positive,” the chief executive said.

“Our customer satisfaction levels have bounced back strongly since December and we have more service and product improvements in the pipeline.”

Qantas said its net profit dropped 13.2 percent year-on-year to Aus$869 million (US$570 million) in the six months to December 31.

Revenue rose 12.3 percent to Aus$11.1 billion, it said.

But overall costs climbed, pushed up in part by higher spending on fuel, aircraft operations and salaries.

Qantas said travel demand was strong, led by the leisure sector but with business travel now approaching pre-Covid-19 levels.

Fares had fallen by more than 10 percent from a late 2022 peak.

Qantas said it saw “strong demand” across its business.

Unit revenue was expected to remain stable in domestic operations and “continue to normalise” for international flights as market capacity expanded, it said.

Seat capacity in Qantas’ international operations was now at 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the airline said, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

A day before announcing its results, Qantas named corporate executive John Mullen its new chairman-elect from July 1. 

He will take over from Richard Goyder, who is stepping down under pressure from shareholders seeking a boardroom renewal at the airline.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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